Sunday 24 September 2017

Brazil World Cup stadium collapse leaves two dead

Workers stand near a crane that collapsed on the site of the Arena Sao Paulo stadium.
An aerial view of the stadium prior to yesterday’s tragedy.

Donna Bowater

Part of the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup opener in Brazil has collapsed, killing at least two people and causing significant damage, authorities said.

The last metal piece of the roof was being installed at the Corinthians stadium when the ground gave way and the crane collapsed into part of the stands, according to local media.

The tragedy is the latest setback plaguing what should be soccer's signature event.

Odebrecht, the construction firm responsible for the arena due to host the opening match at the 2014 World Cup, confirmed two workers were killed. Military police in Sao Paulo had previously said there were three deaths.

The victims were named as Fabio Luiz Pereira (42) and Ronaldo Oliveira dos Santos (44).

The accident could further delay delivery of the stadium, which was almost finished before yesterday's collapse. FIFA has set a December deadline for all 12 World Cup venues to be ready.

Television footage showed the twisted metal structure on the ground amid debris after the accident.

CRANE

A third person is thought to have been seriously injured.

One of the workers at the site, Adilan Freitas (30), said he was far from crane when the accident happened, but could still hear the noise.

"I just heard the sound of the panel cracking," he said.

The piece of the roof being installed was said to be 15 metres long and was believed to be the final piece of the covering.

Last week, Odebrecht said work at the stadium was 94pc complete ahead of Fifa's December 20 deadline.

The accident is the latest blow to construction work to finish six of the 12 stadiums by December ahead of the World Cup. Work at the Arena da Amazonia stadium in Manaus has been beset by tropical rain.

There have already been deaths during the construction of the World Cup stadiums in Manaus and Brasilia.

And it will be a major embarrassment to the local organising committee, just nine days ahead of the World Cup draw in Sauipe, near Salvador.

Six of the stadiums are due to be handed to Fifa by December 20. The other six were delivered earlier this year for the Confederations Cup.

Jerome Valcke, Fifa secretary general, said: "Extremely shocked by the news from Sao Paulo. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this accident."

Fifa sent its condolences in a statement. "FIFA and the LOC have learnt of the death of workers at the Corinthians Arena site in Sao Paulo with great sadness," it said. "We wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the workers who tragically died.

"The safety of workers is the top priority for FIFA, the LOC, the federal government.

"We know the safety of all workers has always been paramount for all the construction companies contracted to build the 12 FIFA World Cup stadiums. The local authorities will fully investigate the reasons behind such a tragic accident.

"Please understand that we are in no position to comment further at this stage, as we are awaiting further details from the authorities. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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